Kaelen Wilson-Goldie at Artforum:
MYTHOLOGIES RARELY SERVE the artists who inspire them. Ouattara Watts has now entered his fifth decade of painting. His oeuvre consists of the large-to-monumental canvases he has been making prodigiously for forty-five years, alongside lesser-known watercolors, gouaches, drawings, and collages. Over time, he has developed an expansive and wildly complex visual language. It is also unabashedly joyful, even beautiful, insisting on a universal purpose for painting. More than a body, his is a forest of works, too vast, dense, and important to be detoured by an origin story. And yet the origin story persists, making a circuitous route around but rarely through the work and confounded, perhaps, by some minor confusion over the artist’s name: He was born Bakari Ouattara (in the Ivorian capital Abidjan), nicknamed Ouatts (in his youth) and later Ouatt (in Paris), became known as Ouattara Watts (in New York), and is referred to (almost everywhere) as simply Ouattara.
Inventive and searching, formally dexterous and deeply spiritual, his paintings deserve to be better known.